The Time War was the single most devastating event in all of the Doctor’s many lives. It wiped all the Time Lords and most of the Daleks off the face of the universe. We’ve heard him mope about it for years now, but this past Saturday we finally got to see some firsthand footage in Doctor Who‘s 50th anniversary special, titled, “The Day of the Doctor.”
The zap-em-up sci fi action doesn’t cheapen the suffering of the Time Lords as we see families with children frantically searching for shelter from the menacing Daleks. Prior to this episode, it was easy to say the Doctor made the right choice in destroying both the Daleks and the Time Lords in order to save the universe. Steven Moffat, the head writer of Doctor Who, went ahead and complicated things, and for that, I love him.
The episode had three strong leading men at the helm. David Tennant and Matt Smith worked brilliantly in sync, occasionally matching each others body language to portray one character in two bodies and then splitting off to play bickering siblings. For whatever reason, Christopher Eccleston refused to reprise his role as the Ninth Doctor. Oh well, his loss was our gain. In his stead we got John Hurt’s curmudgeonly Doctor, whose performance as a war-weary old man was heart-wrenching. Together, the three actors made a pitch-perfect trio.
Jenna Louise-Coleman nails her role as Clara Oswald, who is pretty much the Zooey Deschanel of the Doctor’s companions. Last spring, her performance as the quirky “impossible girl” was unfortunately overshadowed by a lackluster season up until the finale. Oddly enough, she had better chemistry with John Hurt than she did with Matt Smith, so it’ll be interesting to see her paired with the next Doctor, Peter Capaldi.
If it were any other episode, Billie Piper’s casting would have seemed very stilted, considering she wasn’t even playing Rose Tyler or Bad Wolf. However, what better way to celebrate the Doctor’s birthday than laying the fanservice on thick? In fact, one character, a mousey scientist, was even written as a representative of the Doctor’s fandom. She wore a scarf just like that of the Fourth Doctor Tom Baker, had a TARDIS ringtone, and had asthma attacks at the mere mention of his name.
But the 50th Anniversary is more than a sentimental romp through space and time. It’s a game changer. Facts about the Time War are revealed that could direct the Doctor’s TARDIS on a new route. To quote the Tenth Doctor, “Allons-y!”